Toploader are an English rock band, hailing from Eastbourne, East Sussex, who formed in 1997,[1] with over two million album sales and a few top 20 hits both home and abroad. Their debut album, Onka's Big Moka, sold over one million units and peaked in the Top 5 of the UK Albums Chart, where it remained for six months. It earned them four nominations at the 2001 Brit Awards. They are recognised most of all for their cover of King Harvest's US hit "Dancing in the Moonlight" written by Sherman Kelly, which became a global hit for the band. Their second album, Magic Hotel, reached number 3 in the UK Albums Chart. The band reunited in 2009; they continue to tour at various gigs and record music.

Joseph Washbourn
Joseph Washbourn
Background information
OriginEastbourne, East Sussex, England
Years active
  • 1997–2003
  • 2009–present
  • S2
  • Epic
  • Underdogs Music
  • Big Lake Music
  • India Media Group
MembersJoseph Washbourn
Dan Hipgrave
Patrick Greenberg
Sean Burton
Rob Green
Past membersMatt Knight
Julian Deane


Formation and early start (1997–1998)Edit

Guitarist, Dan Hipgrave

Named after a joint-rolling technique, Toploader's live career began playing with Coldplay and Muse in small venues across the UK. They later went on to support the likes of Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Tom Jones, Robbie Williams and Simple Minds. On 20 July 2000 they backed Bon Jovi at the original Wembley Stadium, becoming the last British band to play there before it was demolished and redeveloped.[2]

Commercial success (1999–2001)Edit

By 1998, Toploader were picked up by S2 Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music, and signed a six-album deal. On 7 May 1999, the band made their first live TV performance on TFI Friday, hosted by Chris Evans.[3] Later that same year their debut album, Onka's Big Moka, was released on 11 November and became a huge hit. It was produced by Dave Eringa, a long time collaborator of the Manic Street Preachers. It debuted at number five in the UK Albums Chart, until it settled at number four. "Dancing in the Moonlight" was the top single off the album, eventually reaching number seven in the UK Singles Chart, while "Achilles Heel" managed to get to number eight. They gained four nominations at the Brit Awards, despite never winning any of them. On 24 June 2000, Toploader attended the Glastonbury Festival, as part of the Saturday line-up.

Break-up (2002–2003)Edit

In 2002 they released a second album, Magic Hotel. The album was poorly received by critics and failed to match the success of the first.[4] They struggled with a backlash from the UK music press and their single, "Time of My Life", could only make it into the Top 20. Because of the negative reception and the album not meeting the same success as the first, they were dropped by S2. Not long after that, the band broke up in 2003.[4] Julian Deane retired as a musician and in 2007 he founded Raygun Music, a Brighton based management company, that serves both as a record label and publisher.[5]

Reforming and later work (2009–present)Edit

Toploader performing at The Doghouse in Dundee in October 2011.

Six years later, Toploader reformed and signed a one-album deal with Underdogs Music[6] for their third album, which was released in June 2011. The album's title was Only Human, and the first single from it, "Never Stop Wondering", was released on 14 March 2011. Another single, "A Balance to All Things" (featuring a remix from Ash Howes), followed on 20 June 2011.

The present band line-up contains three of the five original members: Joseph Washbourn, Dan Hipgrave and Rob Green.

On 28 April 2012, they performed at the University of Gloucestershire Student Union Summerball. They also performed at Aberystwyth University's May Ball on 11 May 2012. In May 2012, they played at Lakefest festival.[7] They also played at the Tiree Music Festival in July 2012. During 2012 the band agreed to act as patrons for a UK-based children's charity called 'Time Is Precious'.[8] In November 2012 they performed a gig in Frome, Somerset with all proceeds going to the charity, which helps ill children and their families.

In 2013, Toploader released a new single "Turn It Around", co-written with Eg White and produced by Andrew Green. The song is included on a four-song EP. In the summer of 2013 they headlined the LeeStock Music Festival in Suffolk and the AmpRocks Festival in Bedfordshire.[9][10]

On 12 May 2017, Toploader's fourth album, Seeing Stars was released. Under a different music label, Big Lake Music, a sublabel of India Media Group. "Roll with the Punches" was chosen as the lead single. The album was crowdfunded using an online direct-to-fan music platform called PledgeMusic. One year before the album's release, Matt Knight left the band. Jordan Smith from The Xcerts has occasionally performed live with Toploader, but isn't a full time member.


Current members

  • Joseph Washbourn – lead vocals, keyboard, organ, piano, acoustic guitar (1997–2003, 2009–present)
  • Dan Hipgrave – guitars, backing vocals (1997–2003, 2009–present)
  • Patrick Greenberg – bass, backing vocals (2016–present)
  • Sean Burton – guitars, backing vocals (2009–present)
  • Rob Green – drums, percussion (1997–2003, 2009–present)

Former members

  • Matt Knight – bass, backing vocals (1997–2003, 2009–2016)
  • Julian Deane – guitars, backing vocals (1997–2003)


Studio albumsEdit

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1999 Onka's Big Moka 4 99 86
2002 Magic Hotel
  • Released: 19 August 2002
  • Label: S2
  • Formats: CD, cassette, vinyl, digital download
2011 Only Human
  • Released: 6 June 2011
  • Label: Underdogs Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download
2017 Seeing Stars
  • Released: 12 May 2017
  • Label: Big Lake Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Compilation albumsEdit

Year Album details
2009 Dancing in the Moonlight – The Best of Toploader
  • Released: 9 March 2009
  • Label: Sony CMG
  • Formats: CD, digital download


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
1999 "Achilles Heel" 64 Onka's Big Moka
"Let the People Know" 52
2000 "Dancing in the Moonlight" 19 12 52
"Achilles Heel" (re-release) 8 80
"Just Hold On" 20
"Dancing in the Moonlight" (re-release) 7 9
2001 "Only for a While" 19
2002 "Time of My Life" 18 95 Magic Hotel
"Some Kind of Wonderful" 76
2011 "Never Stop Wondering" Only Human
"A Balance to All Things"
"She Said"
2013 "Turn It Around" Non-album single
"This Is the Night"
2017 "Roll with the Punches" Seeing Stars

Awards and nominationsEdit

Brit Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 "Dancing in the Moonlight" British Single of the Year Nominated
British Video of the Year Nominated
Toploader British Group Nominated
British Breakthrough Act Nominated


  1. ^ "CD Reviews: The Beta Band, Default, Toploader and many more". Chart Attack, July 17, 2001
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Pop band Toploader split". BBC. 25 March 2003. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Underdogs Music". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Lakefest 2012: Line-up 2012". 20 January 2012. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  8. ^ [1] Archived 2 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "LeeStock Headliners Announced". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 July 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ a b "TOPLOADER – The Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  12. ^ a b Peaks in Australia:
  13. ^ a b " – Discography Toploader". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Certified Awards Search: Toploader". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  15. ^ "Toploader, Magic, Album – bpi". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Chart Log UK: DJ T – Tzant". Zobbel. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know".

External linksEdit